Newark Naysayers, Listen Up: A KIPP Teacher Dispels Some Myths

(This is a guest post by Tommy Luna, an 8th Grade Math Teacher and Grade Level Chair at KIPP’s Rise Academy in Newark, New Jersey.  Mr. Luna is a Newark resident and started his teaching career in Elizabeth, N.J.) Let’s be real, Newark often gets a bad rap as media attention tends to focus on the negatives in our city. And most of that narrative is told from people who don’t work here or live here who …

Why Can’t Plainfield City Find a Superintendent?

You have to have the parents of this district who are going to charter schools feel comfortable about coming here,” he said. “If they don’t, you’re going to lose more kids. That’s Ronald E. Bolandi, newly-named Interim Superintendent of Plainfield City Public Schools, one of New Jersey’s low-income “Abbott” districts that receive compensatory state aid. According to today’s  Star-Ledger, Bolandi is the fourth superintendent of Plainfield City just this year and the School Board is …

The “Virtuous Circle” in Camden: Positive Progress Yields Community Support

Bryan Morton, Executive Director of Great Camden Schools, has an op-ed in the Courier Post that traces the arc of Camden Public Schools’ transformation, which he ascribes to the leadership of state-appointed Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard, a series of reforms that brought in hybrid renaissance schools, heightened expectations for students and teachers, and a growing sense of hope among Camden families. Morton also describes a trip he took with other community members to the State Board of …

What If We Held Traditional School to the Same Standards As Charter Schools?

The Star-Ledger reports that the International Academy of Trenton (IAT), a public charter school serving grades K-5, is being shut down for failing to meet student academic and social needs: Kimberley Harrington, then commissioner of the Department of Education, in a Jan. 12 letter to IAT said the state was not renewing the charter because the academy “failed to provide a strong educational program and sustained organizational stability.” A school performance report shows many students …

NJ Charter School Association’s Statement on Phil Murphy’s Nominee for Education Commissioner

Position Statement: Governor-elect Murphy’s Nomination of Dr. Lamont Repollet Attribution: New Jersey Charter Schools Association’s Nicole Cole, Esq. January 12, 2018 The New Jersey Charter Schools Association applauds Governor-elect Murphy’s nomination of  Dr. Lamont Repollet as the next DOE Commissioner. Dr. Repollet is an experienced and committed educator who has served New Jersey’s children with distinction as an educator, administrator, school leader, and board member. We appreciate that Dr. Repollet brings to the position the …

If We’re Really About Leveling the Academic Playing Field, We Need to Prioritize the Arts

(This is a guest post by Aggie Sung, a certified early education teacher whose passion is in children’s books that teach young learners to express themselves through art, words, and motion. Her books include “Mommy Duck.” She resides in Princeton, N.J.) Once upon a time, standardized tests were given to adults from all walks of life to prove themselves worthy of certain jobs that they would otherwise not be able to access. These original tests …

GETTING REAL ABOUT EDUCATION: A Conversation With Black Parents, Teachers and Students

My colleague and friend Ikhlas Saleem writes, What happens when you get Black teachers, parents and students in a room with no talking points, no filter, just honest conversation? Well, as a Black baby raised in the ’90s would say, “it got real.” We recently invited more than 40 participants to share the joys and frustrations of being Black in America’s public schools. Their conversations were moderated by a few education advocates we invited from around the …

Mark Weber, Bruce Baker, and Thomas Jefferson

Mark Weber, who blogs at Jersey Jazzman, has lately been focused on a study he wrote with his Rutgers professor Bruce Baker that tries to undermine a Harvard analysis of the impact of education reform in Newark. (Here are links to my views of the Harvard study and the Weber/Baker study.)  Quick recap: The Harvard professors show that, post-reforms,  Newark schools are providing better results for students, especially in English Language Arts (ELA); students’ year-to-year …

Murphy’s Names Charter Leader Connie Sanchez to Education Transition Team

Unity Charter School in Morristown, NJ just announced that its Executive Director, Connie Sanchez, has been named to New Jersey Governor Elect Phil Murphy’s transition team as part of the Education, Access, and Opportunity Transition Advisory Committee. The Morristown charter is a K-8 public school of choice  that was established and chartered by the state of NJ in 1998, and is currently in its 20th year of operation. Unity Charter School Board of Trustees President …

Charter Schools Closing in on State Averages on Third Year of PARCC Testing: Newark Charters Outperform State Average in Math

New Jersey charter schools continue to narrow the achievement gap on the third year of Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams based on data released this fall from the New Jersey Department of Education for the 2016-17 school year. “The release of PARCC scores confirms what we have known about New Jersey’s charter schools: they are closing the achievement gap for economically disadvantaged students and in some cases, outperforming the …